Modern medicine may be the closest thing we have to actual magic. As doctors continue to find treatments that inflict the less pain, our lifespans will continue to increase (unless pharmaceutical companies keep jacking up the price). It”s easy to forget though that there was a reason why people were afraid to go to the doctor during times of oldmedicine was freaking terrifying! Check out these medical procedures that actually existed that look like an actual nightmare.
1. Blood Letting: For a very long time, the body was believed to be full of something called “humors”. Sometimes a person was sick because of “bad humors” would need to have those drained out of him by induced bleeding. Cause nothing says “good humored” like a bunch of skin slits made all over the body.
2. Trepanning: Here the doctor would drill a giant hole in the patient”s head for this was believed to cure epilepsy and other mental disorders. But you know, it would also cause create the symptoms of having a giant hole in your brain, so…
3. Malaria: Fevers were thought to kill syphilis, so doctors of old would often infect their patients with malaria. Of course the side effects of malaria include death mostly.
4. Net Suspension: This man didn”t just completely fail at getting into his hammock, he is actually being treated for scolioses. Doctors felt the best way to align someone”s back was to string them up like they were caught in some kind of Ewok trap on the moon of Endor.
5. Radiation Injection: In the 60″s, doctors in Maryland experimented with treating severe acne with radiation. Even in high school, I think I would rather have acne than skin cancer, thank you.
6. Pedicle Grafts: This acid-trip-demon is actually a man who in WWI was injured and had part of his skin sewn into a tube and temporarily placed on his nose as reconstructive treatment. This procedure of course eventually led to modern skin grafting, but that doesn”t make this any easier to look at this morning.
7. Heliotherapy: Not sure why they made them hold hands in their underwear (seriously is this some kind of creepy cult?), but these children are being treated for tuberculosis by standing around a strong lamp. The theory was that the lamp would increase their Vitamin D, which helped them fight the bacteria.
8. DDT Delousing: Spraying people”s heads with DDT was actually an effective way to kill lice, if you don”t mind cancer or global warming so much.
9. Fecal Bacteriotherapy: This one is actually still used today as it is 90% in treating Clostridium difficile infection. To put it bluntly, they inject someone else”s poop up your butt. Sounds gross, but it actually realigns the healthy bacteria in the colon.
10. Leeching: Another method of getting rid of those pesky “humors”, leeches are still used today to get rid of blood clots.
11. Mercury Medicine: The stuff often associated with making our hatters mad was once used to treat wounds.
12. Maggot Therapy: If you happen to have a limb that is oozing with rotten flesh, maggots are here to clean that wound up. So helpful.
13. Urine Therapy: Many civilizations once believed drinking urine was good for the skin and could cure allergies. The Romans even used it as a natural teeth whitener. This guy is drinking it because he believes it helps him get into a meditative state. Ok dude, whatever floats your boat.
It”s this kind of stuff that makes you wonder if our current medical treatments will someday seem horrible and outdated. Like do band-aids even do anything? (I”m not convinced.) At least it”s still better than attempting to make a pimple disappear by injecting it with radiation.